If you haven’t seen the animation movie Inside Out, I suggest you leave this article and go watch it. No don’t worry about me, I’ll just wait here.
This movie shows the five primary emotions as characters; anger, fear, sadness, disgust and joy, who literally control the motherboard of your brain and as a result affect your feelings, thoughts and behaviors. I like to imagine that in December of every year, those five people inside your head sit down for a board meeting, each with a cup of coffee and a huge pile of dusty files of all the things that were left unsaid:
Anger: “You wusses! I say it a million times every single year but you all won’t listen to me! The only way to deal with a problem is to spit it out! Some people just need a wake-up slap! On the face! With a BASEBALL BAT! I’ve held so much anger inside I’m gonna explode soon! And it’s not like we have a shredder for these stupid ‘unsaid’ files! What am I supposed to do with this rage now, huh? You’re all COWARDS! PUSHOVERS!”
Fear: “Whoa! What if you say the things you need to say, pour your heart out, then get rejected? Or get in trouble? What if you stand up for what you believe in and end up shunned? Ridiculed? Oh my God, what if you lose your friends or loved ones because you said things they don’t want to hear? I say it’s not worth the risk! Shove those files in the back of your mind and we’ll all be okay! Better safe than sorry!”
Sadness: “I agree with Mr. Fear. It doesn’t matter anyway. No one will understand. It’s better to leave things unsaid than say them and realize no one cares. Bearing an untold story is a great agony, but there’s no guarantee the pain will go away if you share it.”
Disgust: “Ughh Sadness, you’re so negative you make me sick! But I can’t say things like that to other people! I judge them silently instead. I doubt them, make all kinds of assumptions and never get any answers because I’m too proud to ask or too disgusted to look at them. I don’t give advice or help people fix their lives coz no one likes a ‘know-it-all’. I have so much to say, but now it’s too late.”
Joy: “I know you guys think I’m perfect, but I’m not. I have a huge pile of unsaid things too, but my files are beautiful. They’re filled with love, appreciation, compliments and gratitude-except I never had the chance to express them.”
And then the CEO of the brain concludes the meeting with a bang on the desk and a frustrating question: “What are we gonna do with all these dusty files? The storage is completely over packed, the doors won’t even open! There’s no more room!”
Look me in the eye and tell me honestly, do you have bite marks on your tongue from all the things you never said? Is your heart filled with love for someone, but that person has no idea? Did you drift apart from a friend and were left with all the things you didn’t say? Are you trapped in a relationship, muted or too drained to explain? Do you let your anger speak because it’s easier to rage than admit you’re weak or vulnerable? Are you too proud to apologize or too hurt to ask for an apology?
Did you say it before it’s too late?-‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I can’t live without you’, ‘you hurt me’, ‘I need help’.
I’ve got news for you all, which might come as a shock, but do you know what happens when you bury a seed in the ground? It grows! It grows so big that it becomes a huge tree. The unspoken seeds of hurt turn to anger, the silent gratitude turns to high expectations, the un-given help or advice turns to guilt, and the unrevealed love will suffocate the life out of you. We think avoiding something will make it go away, but the truth is, the words left unsaid will sit in your mind screaming. Sometimes it’s not what people say, it’s what they don’t say that hurts the most.
Since you started reading this, you’ve been thinking of specific people or perhaps one special person you left things unresolved with. And do you know how I know that person is special? Besides the fact that I have magical powers, we both know that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
So whoever popped in your mind, be it someone you love or want to strangle because they’ve hurt you so much, that person is a part of you; an unresolved tangled knot in your heart.
Put your ego to the side, find your calm soul and say the things you’ve left unsaid. Believe me, it’ll haunt you forever if you don’t. A conflict is never about what we see, it’s about the buried wounds left unhealed. We carry this huge burden day after day, year after year, and it changes who we are in the process.
December is just a reminder to deal with the old before you start the new. If you want to do better, reach your goals and travel far with your dreams, you need to travel light. Put down that burden and go make it right, with the things that were left…unsaid.
Happy New Year!